Refurbishment of Eureka Weather Station and surrounding facilities on Ellesmere Island, Nunavut

Summary of a strategic assessment of effects on the environment regarding the plan for the refurbishment of Eureka Weather Station and surrounding facilities on Ellesmere Island, Nunavut.

Budget 2019 provided funding over 5 years for infrastructure investments at the Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) custodial site in Eureka, Nunavut. The site is part of a network of High Arctic Weather Stations and serves as a weather station and science facility. It is a key location for undertaking the following activities:
•    real-time climate and water observations
•    snow and ice surveys
•    scientific research program to understand northern weather and climate patterns

The refurbishment of Eureka is to include the following key elements:
•    runway recapitalization to address runway degradation and maintain safe landing in the summer months
•    freshwater reservoir and sewage system upgrade to enable full sewage treatment and address sealing issues in the station’s freshwater reservoir
•    decommissioning of 12 buildings that are no longer in use
•    recapitalization of fuel tanks and power house infrastructure, as fuel tanks are beyond their expected life and power generators needs refreshed protection
•    recapitalization of the main complex, which serves as a critical life support for all the occupants at the site
•    recapitalization of the Ridge laboratory, including the renovation of the heating, ventilation, air conditioning and plumbing systems

The direct outcomes of the refurbishment include:
•    improved resilience of Eureka infrastructure
•    reduced risks of local contamination
•    cleaner and more carbon efficient government operations

The indirect, longer term outcomes of the refurbishment include:
•    weather forecasting for the benefit and safety of Canadians through ongoing collection of critical weather data
•    evidence-based climate policy through continuing atmospheric and climate change research

The strategic environmental assessment concluded that the plan will support the following Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) goals and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
•    Effective action on climate change: the site will be used to conduct atmospheric and climate change research to produce scientific knowledge supporting evidence-based climate policy making which also contributes to SDG 13 Climate action
•    Greening government: renovating Eureka’s structures, heating and operating is expected to result in more energy efficient operations which also contributes to SDG 12 Responsible consumption and production
•    Modern and resilient infrastructure: strengthening climate resiliency of Eureka through upgrading the runway and the water infrastructure which also contributes to SDG 13 Climate action
•    Safe and healthy communities: upgrading freshwater reservoirs, sewage treatment lagoon, fuel storage, decommissioning old buildings, upgrading the runway, and the use of water-related research will make this site safer which also contributes to SDG 3 Good health and well-being

Maintaining the Eureka site infrastructure will ensure the continued delivery of environmental observations and climate monitoring activities that contribute to evidenced-based decisions about health and safety, and support informed socio-economic policy making. The public and airfield access also support economic growth from commercial and recreational aircrafts.

Follow-up on this plan will occur annually and the results will be reported in ECCC's Departmental Results Report.

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